Thursday, January 5, 2012

Favorite Plant-Strong COOKBOOKS!! :-)

Ok! Since becoming a vegan I have relied on outstanding plant-strong bloggers heavily for their excellent recipes but I also have continued to use cookbooks as well.  Next time I'll discuss my go-to recipe blogs & who my favorite bloggers are and why (for a sample you can check the left sidebar of the blog for links!), but for today, lets talk cookbooks!

When planning our weekly food plan I tend to pick one cookbook to focus primarily on & then add in recipes from blogs as well.  Getting used to cooking so frequently was definitely an adjustment but since we really can't find anything to eat at work, I really rely on my homemade food to get through the day!  The thing I have discovered is that in the 20 mins it takes to get take-out and get back home you can have dinner practically ready to eat in that same timeframe AND know what is in the food you are eating!  (even less if all you are doing is heating up food from a weekend bulk cook).  

Oh and in case you missed my earlier post on my top 3 kitchen appliances, you can access it here.

For now, I definitely have a set of favorite vegan cookbooks and I'll share them with you in this post.  Do you have a favorite that isn't on my list??  Would LOVE to hear of ideas for new awesome ones!

Favorite Cookbooks:

1) The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon.  If there was one cookbook I could recommend as a starter for plant-based eating, this would be it. 
2) Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson:  My second favorite is a highly awesome book for those (like us) on a tight budget! 
  • every recipe is <$2.50 a serving with a lot around the $0.50/serving range.  
  • she helps you figure out how to replicate the more expensive vegan items with homemade versions--seitan, vegetable stock, mayo, "big stick pepperoni."  AND how to organize your kitchen.
  • if you are going oil-free per Dr. Esselstyn's program (like me) you do need to substitute for oil 
  • Sweet-Potato, Roasted Tomato,
    Spinach & Peanut Soup!

  • the food is fantastic--Robin Robertson is an amazing chef--The Healthy Librarian's version of her Sweet Potato, Spinach, Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, and a Bit of Peanut Butter Soup is one of our favorites (that recipe is from a different one of her cookbooks but all of her recipes are of this quality)
  • Brilliant new cookbook added to my collection this week
  • First recipe, the potato soup, was very good
  • Fascinating to discover that you can cook things like squash and poached pears in the slow cooker!
  • LOVE our 3-in-1 slow cooker so I'm going to be all about this book!
  • Its organized really well--love that it clearly identifies the recipes as soy and gluten-free, etc 
  • I like its "The night before" and "In the morning" sections to each recipe so you can prep it the night before and then toss it in the slow cooker in the morning to cook all day!  

  • The cookbook from the Forks Over Knives film
  • Really excellent variety of plant-based options to choose from, 125 recipes from 25 vegan chefs including Mrs. McDougall, Mrs. Esselstyn, Mrs. Campbell, Chef AJ, Rip Esselstyn and many more.  
  • Great for new fresh ideas when you are getting in a rut!
  • Need to substitute for oil in some recipes but a lot of recipes without oil as well.
  • Favorite:  Polenta Pizza with Herbed Cashew Creme! (made that for Christmas for my family & they loved it!) YUM!

  • New favorite--got it this week and have made 2 recipes so far.  Both have been OUTSTANDING!
  • I love this book because it has a bunch of full menu ideas for a party and then is organized into recipes by party theme.  The recipes sound complicated but I can follow them easily (I don't do complicated recipes! No time!)
  •  For example, the first chapter is "A Dinner Party" and the recipes are:  "Artichoke Tapenade, Sun-dried Tomato & Green Olive Biscotti (made this tonight--with gluten-free flour of course--OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING!), Butterhead & Radicchio Salad with Walnut-Pesto Dressing, Wild Mushroom Ragu over Polenta and Orange-Kissed Chocolate Tiramisu!!"
  • The themes range from a "Child's Birthday Party" menu to a "Super Bowl Party" with some formal menus as well (the formal menus do seem more complex however)!
  • The recipes are very straightforward--easy to throw together.  When I saw the word "biscotti" I was a bit intimidated but it was actually pretty simple to prepare!  She clearly indicates if something is complicated or simple.
  • You do need to find substitutes for oils and fats in the recipes 
  • I'm a huge fan of "party food" so its nice to have a book to use.  Her "Finger-Lickin Tempeh" recipe is online--also see my post.

  • Whimsical and fun--great variety of fantastic ethnic food, a lot of curries which is great!  We cook the curries in the slow cooker which saves time :-)
  • Nutritional info with every recipe, no more than 400 calories per serving
  • Main dish focussed which is nice, less emphasis on appetizers, etc.  
  • Excellent variety of vegetable options and recipes are healthy
  • New to me so I'm still getting to know it--did a lot of last week's menu from it:  the Butternut Coconut Rice was AMAZING and the Vegetable Korma is a total hit!

Reference Books with Recipes
  • The first cookbook we used--fantastic simple recipes and great tips on learning how to cook without oil (surprisingly not as challenging as you would think!).  
  • Favorites:  Artichoke-Bean Dip (a hit at every party I've brought it to--I use it also as sandwich filler), Green Onion Hummus, Quick Black Bean Chili (but we make it with multiple types of beans)--SO good!
  • Excellent for beginners to the vegan, low-fat world because everything is very easy with very short, simple steps to prepare.

  • I use this book primarily for the reference data in the front but there are some good looking recipes in the back--haven't tried them yet.  
  • The table at the front is the basis for my anti-inflammatory food program

Coming Up:
  • Best of the Blogosphere from This Week & My FAVORITE Blogs!
  • How I Deal With Temptation...
  • Guest Post from THE HAPPY NURSE 
  • The Clear Skin Diet and My New Soy-Free Life!
  • And more....
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    1. I really want to try one of Robin Robertson's cookbooks - I need to make that Sweet Potato Soup. My favorite cookbooks are:

      1. Happy Herbivore
      2. Appetite for Reduction
      3. Everyday Happy Herbivore
      4. McDougall Quick and Easy

      I just got Julieanna Hever's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking" but haven't made the time to really scope it out yet.

      I wanted to get the Slow-Cooker one, but I read somewhere that there is a lot of faux meat used in it. I don't like to use a lot of processed stuff and I'm getting away from gluten as much as do you feel like it uses a lot of faux meat?

      I'm excited to see your favorite blogs! :)

    2. Thank you so much for your reviews on vegan cookbooks!I'm a long time overweight vegetarian who just became a vegan after reading "Eat to Live". I'm committed to eating more healthier but find that even vegans can also be junk food vegans. Your list of cookbooks will help me find the right ones for me. I also would like to add Julieanna Hever's Plant-Based Nutrition. She's one of my first vegan book I found while changing to vegan. Looking forward to your blog favs!

    3. @Meredith: Thanks so much for sharing your favs! I haven't tried McDougall Quick & Easy--I really need to check out one of their books because I have mostly only read their newsletter! You'll love Robin Robertson's books btw--that Sweet Potato Soup is to die for!

      On the Slow Cooker book-- I double checked because I didn't remember anything major in the faux meat department but wanted to be sure. I think you will be a-ok with it. There are a bunch of "faux meat" recipes but there are even more non-"faux" meat ones. I don't do gluten so I'm very used to just ignoring the seitan or whatnot. She does use a lot of "chicken-flavored vegan bouillon" but I've been substituting vegetable broth and everything tastes totally fine so far! I'm going to be making the Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup tonight & I'll let you know how it turns out if that is something you think sounds good!

      Excited to share my fav blogs too and can't wait to get advice from all of you on some more to add to my list!

      @H.C.--happy to help! I think you'll be really happy with the vegan choice. Its pretty hard to gain weight eating vegan unless you do a lot of "faux meat" or nuts--then it really becomes junk food-y. So you should be in great shape if you stick to these cookbooks.

      Some advice, at first since you are interested in weight loss, I'd recommend just following the lower fat cookbooks like "The Happy Herbivore" or "Appetite for Reduction" or "Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease" at first because it will be easier than trying to use Robin Robertson's books & find substitutes for the oil! I'm all about starting simple! Let me know how it goes and stay in touch!

      Thanks for the advice on Julieanna Hever's book--I really liked her post today on the Happy Herbivore blog so I'll have to check it out!

    4. Dr. Cat, I love this post!! I own Appetite for Reduction and just purchased a second copy for my daughter to use at college. I would highly recommend the Buffalo Tempeh and Cool Slaw (which BTW, I discovered through Healthy Girls Kitchen). Also, the salad dressings are delicous!! No oil, made with nuts for thickness.

      Definitely purchasing The Happy Herbivore after reading the overwhelming positive reviews.(and the fact that the recipes are low or no oil works for me so I don't have to make modifications).

      1. Thanks Cindy!! I'm glad you like it!! I looked up the Cool Slaw in the AFR--it looks fantastic! Will be putting that on my list for next week :-) Yum!!!!!!!

        I'm sure you will love the HH cookbook!! Will you let me know what you think when you get it and try it out?! :-)

    5. Hey cuz I'm planing to try some of these recipes soon! I've been cooking out of a low fat low cholesterol cook book from the American heart association so I will have to send you a few recipies that you can try sometime

    6. Ok - great! I'm buying the Slow Cooker book and Robin's newest one. :) Thanks!

      1. Yay!! Will you let me know what you think of both when you get them? :-))) Can't wait to hear what you think as well!:-)

    7. Great post, Dr. Cat!

      Thanks for the shout-out on the sweet potato spinach soup. It comes from her "Quick-Fix" Vegan, one of my favorites.

      LOVE Kathy Hester's Vegan Slow Cooker--and I'm making the Atomic Tofu (Walnut--not Pecan)Loaf right now.

      Most of these I'm pretty certain can be made on the stove or in the oven, depending on what it is.

      I've made the Chili Rellenos in the oven, same for the Chipotle Chocolate Black Bean brownies.

      Good idea to double her recipes--if you like left-overs. Just saying...

      1. @HL--Thanks!! That soup is incrrrrreeeeddddible! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing it on HHLL! And thanks for recommending Kathy Hester's book--I'm really loving her recipes. Had an outstanding Thai Coconut-Pumpkin soup (with a real spice kick!) for lunch yesterday--yum!

    8. Love the post, I am a cookbook junkie! I am interested in buying the 3-in-1 slow cooker, didn't see what brand it is. I enjoy your blog, very inspiring!

      1. Thanks Anonymous!! I have checked the whole outside of the 3-in-1 cooker and I cannot find a brand name!!! Crazy!! All I know is that my husband bought it at Walmart (and I know they have it in other cities as well b/c my Mom found a 3-in-1 at her Walmart too!) Sorry! Hope that meager information helps!!

        Thanks also for the kind supportive feedback--hearing things like that totally makes my day!! Thank you! :-)

    9. Hi, Dr. Cat, You might want to check out Dr. Barnard's "Get Healthy, Go Vegan" cookbook. My husband & I have tried several recipes & we liked all of them, with the exception of the 'burger' recipe (it was a texture issue for us). One thing I do is double the spices.

      1. Ooooo thanks Jackie! I haven't heard of that one--yay! I really like Dr. Barnard as well so I'll definitely get that cookbook! Thanks!!! :-)


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